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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Working with my illustrator: the initial rough sketches

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 22, 2018

The writing, editing, and rewriting of my story “The Death of David Pickett” is finished. Now I’m working with my illustrator Jon Hunt. I sent him an email describing the project and its various elements (background, drone, main character, his t-shirt, action sequence). He sent me back the following two rough sketches. I chose #2, then emailed him back the marked-up sketch plus my revisions: larger drone, larger character, and my author byline under the title. Can’t wait to see the finished graphic.

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A writer is someone who cannot not write

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 12, 2018


To be is to do.—Albert Camus
To do is to be.—Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do.—Frank Sinatra

So goes a version of humorous graffiti mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut in “Deadeye Dick.” As a writer, I have my own clever exchange of sayings:

A writer is someone who writes.—Pat Schneider
A writer is someone who cannot not write.—Sol Stein

Pat Schneider’s declaration is an affirmation of identity: “I am a writer.” Sol Stein’s aphorism is an affirmation of the need to write. I’ve rarely needed to affirm my identity as a writer, I’ve always just written.

I recently finished a major rewrite of a longish short story. Now I’m turning to work on my next MRR column. Last month I wrote about individual political changes, crossovers, and conversions on the Right and Left. Now I’m tackling the rise of and interplay between the New Left and the New Right using 1968 as a linchpin year. I started yesterday and, as usual, I’m attempting to write the history of the world in 1,500 words. In my remaining 500 words, I need to summarize how the New Right—in the form of the European New Right—seduced the New Left—in the form of the academic journal Telos. I have Tamir Bar-on’s brilliant book “Where Have All The Fascists Gone?” to guide me. Walk in the park, right?

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The final edit

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 2, 2018

4/26: I’ve been futzing around with my manuscript “The Death of David Pickett” for the past several days, working and reworking my editor’s corrections and comments. But there’s only so much I can do before I acknowledge I’ve done all I can. So I’ve just sent the “final” document to my editor for a last read-through.

5/2: “The Death of David Pickett” (TDDP) project started when I realized that a longish story I’d already written could be repurposed and reconfigured as a prequel to my novel, 1% Free. TDDP would then be formatted into a digital book and given away for free en mass to publicize and promote the novel. Since that decision TDDP has been rewritten a dozen times, given to select readers to evaluate, submitted to an editor for developmental and line edits, and rewritten several more times.

I got the final read through from my editor last weekend, worked on it for the past few days, and finally declared it finished this morning. Initially, my editor pointed out that one relationship in the story was so undeveloped as to be farcical. She advised that I somehow make my readers care about the relationship. But when I rewrote the relationship putting the necessary depth into it, my editor didn’t like the direction I’d taken matters into and commented she didn’t understand why I still wanted the relationship in the story at all.

At first I was taken aback, and a little miffed. My editor was vocal about what she didn’t like with the revised relationship but not how to fix it. Did she suggest I rewrite the entire story to eliminate the problematic relationship in question? But her editing job was done. I reexamined her comments and realized that part of the relationship’s problem was that it stood alone, apart from the story’s other themes and plot lines. I rewrote the relationship once again and connected it up to the rest of the story, its plot and characters. That should take care of the problem.

Tonight, I’m attending our 6-week-on/6-week-off Finishing School to further chart my course for the TDDP project. One thing’s certain, I will continue to rewrite the manuscript up until I submit it for the final copyediting, just before I pour it into digital pdf/ebook formats. The writing and rewriting are the fun part, the rest is just getting the job done.

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The creative rush

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on April 21, 2018

4/18: I’m working through my editor’s comments and corrections rewriting my story “The Death of David Pickett.” I’ve given myself a target of 5 pages a day, and I’m already there this morning. Everything else is just catnip.

4/19: Zipping right along. I’ve completed rewriting 9 more pages today. While not as exciting as the original creative work, the process of rewriting–correcting mistakes, inventing solutions to persistent problems, taking plot and character in new directions–is reinvigorating the story and re-energizing my writing.

4/20: I’m off to the gym. Afterwards, I’m back to continue rewriting “The Death of David Pickett.” I’m at the end of a section halfway through the manuscript, and I really have to rebuild that part line by line and paragraph by paragraph. That should be fun.

4/21:
Writing is a process of building stories and solving creative conundrums along the way. The same goes for rewriting to a lesser extent. I’m invigorated by working through the edits on my manuscript, so much so that I find myself racing along with the rewrite even though I hope it doesn’t end. I’m almost done which makes me excited and sad at the same time. Here’s to finishing today.

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Nothing works the way I want it to. Especially software!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on April 16, 2018

I’m trying to figure out how to use MS Word’s Track Changes option in going through my editor’s notes and comments for my manuscript “The Death of David Pickett.” At first glance it seems pretty straightforward. I have the option of viewing the document in full markup mode and then of going from one correction to the next either accepting or rejecting the proposed changes. But the markup is messy and confusing and there’s more than just corrections in the marked up document like comments and notes and suggested revisions from my editor. I tried switching over to the compare mode that supposedly allows me to view my original document side by side with the editor’s marked up document. To do so however, all the changes in the marked up document must be accepted in order for the two documents (original and modified marked up) to be viewed next to each other in a single MS Word window. To view my original document next to my editor’s unmodified marked up document means keeping two separate MS Word windows open simultaneously, which defeats the purpose of the compare option. I do have the option of removing my editor’s comments but again, that defeats the purpose of having those comments available for a side by side comparison with my original document. I want to work out a process of rewriting my manuscript which allows me to rework the manuscript into a finished document while maintaining a comparison between the original document and the editor’s marked up document. But I fear that will require keeping THREE damned separate MS Word windows open simultaneously. Aaaarghh!

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Found weekend

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on April 16, 2018

4/14/18:
A man, a typewriter, a weekend. I got the edited manuscript back from my editor. You know where I’ll be this weekend.
[all photos are of Ray Milland from “Lost Weekend.”]

4/15/18:
I spent the weekend going over my editor’s notes and comments. There are a dozen problems with the manuscript, but she liked it overall. I’m jazzed. Now I’m setting up for the rewrite, and the more I organize myself for one thing in my life, the more organized I get in the rest of my life.

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Once in the editor’s hands

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 24, 2018

3-23-18
Last week, I sent the “The Death of David Pickett” manuscript to several readers, one professional and a couple of friends. I used their feedback to rewrite it, at the same time I researched editors for an extensive developmental and line edit. Today, I committed to one editor, signed the service agreement, and sent off the deposit. Things are moving along.

3-24-18
I’m not good at editing my own writing. At the same time, I’m an inveterate tinkerer, always rereading and rewriting my work, changing a word here and a sentence there. So when I sent off “The Death of David Pickett” to the editor I just hired, I was at a loss. The editor insisted on “version control” where “[c]lient shall not make any revisions to the manuscript” once I’ve submitted it for editing. So now what do I do? Why, write something else, of course.

Posted in "What's Left?" by "Lefty" Hooligan, 1% Free, blog, blogger, blogging, G.A. Matiasz, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Writing Weekend

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 18, 2018

SATURDAY:

We concluded our six week Finishing School group last Wednesday and I’m solo this weekend reworking the long short story/short novelette (~11,150 words). Working title “The Death of David Pickett,” it’s a prequel set in the same universe as my novel 1% Free. I’ve sent it to a couple of readers for first impressions. But I have some revisions already in mind since I declared it complete to wrap up my Finishing School participation. So it’s minimal social media and maximal writing for the next few days at least.

I’ll also be researching editors who do scifi, short fiction, developmental editing, and line editing as the next step. My copyeditor and illustrator will eventually be commissioned for the project, and the whole process will take months before I have a digital “book” I intend to give away for free. The giveaway will be to promote the novel, but it’ll require a coordinated blitz using email and social media, and maybe a multimedia pdf/ebook for maximum effect. I’m thinking July or August.

SUNDAY:

There are a couple of classic writer’s block memes. One is of the writer staring at a blank page or computer screen in frustration while the other is of that same frustrated writer surrounded by piles of crumpled pages while pulling out his or her hair. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, or from an inability to write when I wanted. For those who do I suggest Pat Schneider’s Amherst Writers and Artists method. It’s a little too hippie-dippie for me, but the non-judgmental workshop style of AWA seems to work for a lot of people.

I had more and more problems writing when I was a raging alcoholic prior to 2010, and for the nine months or so after I stopped drinking when I was clinically depressed. Before I stopped I was also somewhat depressed, and increasingly I skipped writing my monthly columns for Maximum Rocknroll. I didn’t even bother sitting at my computer pretending to write because I had essentially lost interest. In doing CBT-based therapy for my depression after 2010, I promised myself to write my column every month no matter what. And I’ve lived up to that promise.

There’s a big difference between writer’s block and depression. For writer’s block there are appealing writing programs. For depression there are appropriate therapies. The key to any solution is a proper diagnosis of the problem.

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Working on MRR columns

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 14, 2018

Happiness is an open, warm library.

I have my column back from my copyeditor. There are issues with grammar and punctuation which I’m working on now, but nothing problematic about content. Of course, copyeditors are not tasked with editing content, and rightfully so. I already sent the rough to my friend Comrade Motopu for comments and criticisms regarding the column’s subject matter, which is a defense of the ultraleft. He’s good with it. Once I correct my copyeditor’s issues, I’m good to go.

I’ve also got my first line for the next column: “Sometimes a globalist is just a globalist.” It’s a paraphrase of that famous quote attributed, it seems wrongly, to Sigmund Freud that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” With all the talk about globalists being “bad” I thought I’d make it clear that capitalism is a global system run by a capitalist ruling class. It’s open and above board, with its plans openly published in places like the Wall Street Journal. Of course there are conspiracies within capitalism, but capitalism and its ruling class is not itself a conspiracy. Therefore I take issue with conspiracy theorists who contend that a secret cabal of Masons/Illuminati/international bankers/lizard aliens are actually running the world and that globalist is their code for Jews.

Fuck anti-semitism.

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